20,000 Workers Lose Jobs As Diamond Demand Declines

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Surat is famous for diamonds as it employs about 8 lakh workers in about 4000 cutting and polishing units. However, 60 to 70 percent of units are forced to work at their capacity, stated Damji Mavani, the secretary of the Surat Diamond Association (SDA) which also implies there is a need for fewer workers.

Approximately, 20,000 people lost their jobs in Surat in cutting and polishing diamonds in the west and China over the past month.

Bhavesh Tank, the vice-president of the Diamond Workers Union in Gujarat, said fear of a return of the 2008-like recession looms large in the diamond city of Surat. “Orders are fewer and so the workload is less. Therefore, the units are reducing the workforce. Some units are cutting down work days so that they do not have to pay the workers on days when they are not working.”

Surat polishes approximately 80% of the diamonds sold worldwide. Around 8 lakh people are employed in the industry’s 4,000 cutting and polishing units. According to Damji Mavani, secretary of the Surat Diamond Association (SDA), the decline in demand has forced most units to operate at only 60 to 70 percent capacity, implying a need for fewer workers.